Giants

Giants

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Madison Bumgarner's first home run off Clayton Kershaw tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.

The matchups between Clayton Kershaw and the Giants have been, with very few exceptions, comically one-sided. 

Kershaw was supposed to make his 50th career appearance against the rival on Opening Day with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giants squaring off, and he's coming up on two full season's worth of innings -- 342 1/3 so far -- thrown against the Giants, who have done a lot of work to bolster that Hall of Fame resume. Kershaw has a 1.74 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in those 49 appearances, 47 of which have been starts, and has allowed Giants hitters to put up an OPS of just .512. 

It has been a dozen years of destruction, plain and simple, but every once in a while, he'll hang a curveball or throw a slider that didn't get enough depth. The Giants have 19 homers against Kershaw, including two from Madison Bumgarner, one of which will air tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Buster Posey has three homers against him, but the rest of the current roster only has three combined, and one of those comes from newcomer Wilmer Flores. The mainstays have had a nightmare of a time, with Brandon Belt currently carrying a 4-for-60 (with 29 strikeouts) line and Brandon Crawford sitting not much better at 6-for-48. 

 

The funny part about that limited success against Kershaw is that much of it has come from random Giants, the guys who would fill out the Bomb Squad, Bruce Bochy's name for the all-right-handed lineups he would throw against Kershaw as he hoped for the best.

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Before tonight's re-air, we thought we'd look back at those 19 homers and the Giants who hit them:

2009: Bengie Molina: He got to him early, when Kershaw was just breaking into the big leagues. That was part of Molina's last double-digit homer season in the big leagues. 

2010: Juan Uribe: The first of his 24 homers that year came against Kershaw. 

2011: Chris Stewart: The catcher made a nice living during a 12-year career as a backup, but he hit just nine total homers, including three with the Giants. His homer off Kershaw came late in 2011, when Stewart became a bit of a regular after Posey's injury.

2012: Brett Pill, Melky Cabrera: Now we're cooking. Cabrera hit absolutely everybody for four months and then we found out it was chemically enhanced, but Pill is really right in the wheelhouse for this story.

He was supposed to be the right-handed complement to Belt, who has never figured out his fellow Texan (fun fact: Belt was once just as good a pitching prospect as Kershaw while the two were Texas teenagers). Kershaw is the only pitcher Pill faced double-digit times, and he had two hits, including a two-run homer. 

2013: Posey: These two have faced each other more than 100 times, and while Posey has had more competitive at-bats than most, he still carries just a .221/.267/.327 slash line. 

2014: Brandon Hicks: Remember when the Giants basically had an all-Brandon infield? That was wild. Hicks, a veteran second baseman, played just 71 games for the Giants and hit .162. But he did manage to put Kershaw in his book before being DFA'd when Marco Scutaro came off the DL. 

2015: Posey, Bumgarner: The first of Bumgarner's two homers against Kershaw airs tonight. He has multiple homers against just two pitchers, Kershaw and Zack Greinke, which is just another rather remarkable Bumgarner stat. 

2016: Bumgarner, Matt Duffy, Ehire Adrianza, Angel Pagan: The 2016 Giants managed four homers off Kershaw, partially because they faced him five times. Overall they batted just .174 against him that year and scored just 11 runs in 36 innings.

Adrianza's poke down the left-field line was one of three he hit in nearly 300 scattered at-bats for the Giants. The other two were against Andy Pettitte and Kenta Maeda, so at least he made them count. 

2017: Hunter Pence, Posey, Kelby Tomlinson, Mac Williamson: Pence would have started in left field on Opening Day this year, but he hasn't had any success in the matchups either despite having a platoon advantage. Pence has a .202/.211/.270 slash line in 89 career at-bats.

 

Tomlinson and Williamson were Bomb Squad regulars; they combined for 35 at-bats against Kershaw.

2018: Joe Panik: One of the most memorable Opening Day homers in franchise history, Panik's solo shot was the game-winner. He became the first Giant to take Kershaw deep from the left side. 

2019: Mauricio Dubon: He'll never get to face Peak Kershaw, but Dubon certainly opened some eyes when he blasted off last September at Dodger Stadium for his second career homer.

Whenever baseball resumes, Gabe Kapler will have to figure out a way to beat a pitcher he knows well. You can bet Dubon will be in the lineup -- probably right at the top -- every single time.